December 05, 2008


Two days ago,with Grahamwe explored what coaching is.

It was quite revealing,

Let me start from the learning outcomes,for example how important it is to focus on the person coached and eliminate any sighn of ego that might be struggling to appear...So once again the ffundamental feuture about leadership shines out...its not about you...!!!its about empowering other them space and opportunities to develop and achieve...and also helping when there are issues that need confrontation.

Also, when things are not going as expected and this needs to be pointed out during a coaching session it is critical not to personalise the fingerprinting blaming, but to detect the reasons of such a result and then create an environment that will minimise it ...

All this seems so conected to phycology...I guess it makes sence if we think how much time of their life people spend working...

Another thing quite impressive was a comment that came out that afternoon, about using coaching as a mean to ipmove. I think it was Paul who mentioned that every month or so he meets with his manager for a coaching session where they discuss about his performance and what can the company and the manager personally do, in order to improve that in the future...

Another comment came from Luis, who mentioned that in a company he worked in Venezuela had established the mentality of coaches instead of managers....

Isn't that promising...?

The fact that gradually the business world is understanding that employees dont need control systems but development and emancipation..

November 30, 2008

System of Profound Knowledge an LO

After focusing these last couple of days on the System of Profound Knowledge, and trying to find ways of connecting the values illustrated in it,  with the theme of Lerning Organisation ,I have concluded that what Deming is doing is offering advice to managers in order to begin the learning process.

To cut a long story short by reading and most importantly by applying the principles presented in the System of Profound Knowledge, insightful managers are in a position to understand three critical aspects of the organisation they belong to :

1) how the system operates

2) the interactions between the components of the system (people as well as other resousres)

3)what are the outcomes? and can they be controlled? and to what extend

The meaning is that the leader needs to acquire knowledge of the way the organisation functions.

But this knowledge goes beyond just being able to deal with what is happening currently(the "adaptive" knowledge Senge analyses in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization, 1990), the aim is to focus on the future. The kind of knowledge the System of Profound Knowledge provides is closer to the "generative" knowledge Senge analyses in the same book. Because, the objective is for an organisation to understand how things work and also constantly try to detect what can be done in order to improve in the future.

And is't this exactly what Deming says about continuasly redifining and reinventing an organisation?

November 26, 2008

Scratching the surface

For the last couple of days I have started working on my CBE PMA, i have discuded to do the third question(yes me too) about LO, EFQM model and Deming's System of Profound Knowledge.

I have to admit I knew apsolutly nothing about what an LO is, and I have to admit I find its perspective quite fascinating!

The idea of establishing an environment that encourages learning, but not just for the sake of learning, but for developing thourh the outcome and even better going beyond the object of learning and focusing on the process of learning(as i read somewhere), seems so .... ideal. In a way that cant be implemented in our unforgiving world..

According to my information, there has been a lot of analysis discussion around LO for a number of decades (!), it seems to my that somewhere along the way towards becoming one things get mudled up...I  am still trying to understand why....

About my PMA I must say that i found the team presentations extremely helpful!!!! Also, I was having a discussion about how come we didnt dedicate a seminar on this "hot" topic, it whopuld make things soooo much easier...  but  chalenges are nesseccary to evolve and therfore welcomed

Speaking of chalenges, i am having trouble connecting the three aspects (LO, EFQM model and System of Profound Knowledge) with anything else apart from people and vision....I ll see ho that goes

Will get back when have something worthy...

November 11, 2008


As I am very close to finishing the PMA on GBE-which is one of the reasons why I havent blogged for so long- I have found a connection between the PMA content and what we leared during CBE module.

I guess we are all aware of the general fetures our PMA must have:the implications of gobalisation on trade, investment, employment and output and all these in respect of a specific sector. I have selected the clothing industry and  I have to admit it is a very unsusual sector. What is happening is that textile and clothing  firms in US and EU are facing the dillema of "adapting or dying", due to the gobal shift that is taking place and the fierce competition coming from developing countries.

One point is that western firms had settled with the market share the trading restictions had offered them in the past, but since 2005 when the restrictions were eliminated they are facing very difficult times because of powerfull competitors exporting to the EU and US market. This proves that a company must not seat back and enjoy success but must constantly try to be ahead of the market in order to be prepared for the worst. Remeber what Deming had said on that video about improvment...? That a company must think about it in advance and not in a midle of a crisis? I think this is representetive of the case  

What i think is also very intresting is the fact that certain T/C firms particulaly from Italy and France are starting to consentrate on innovation. This reminded me lot of CBE and the EFQM model.These firms have realised that they can't compete in the mass production so they are focusing on niche markets and areas wich haven't been developt yet such as design and quality.

The fact that they are investing in unconvential fields of the textile and clothing sector is giving them a competitive advantage and a characteristic that differentiates them from the rest of the market.

Overall, I think that things would be much easier for T/C firms of developed countries if they considered Deming's idea about costantly redescovering and reinveting an oragisation, never settling with what has been achieved and always setting new goals....

Uh! if only they knew...

October 31, 2008

Saving my face…

Hi all!

This entry is about the notorious "imperial" word I used last week in the presentation about the comparison of the excellence models....I have to admit I am pleased to see it generated such deep discussions-I have read all the relevant blogs and comments- although it was not my intention... But i like the fact we are a very vivid team passionate about what we are doing at MBE.

Anyway here goes...

First of all I based that comment on this journal:

Of course I looked at other journals and websites, but I was particularly impressed by this one because in implies an unusual meaning of leadership for the Deming Prize...or at least that's what I got out of it..

So to begin with, at one point in the journal it is mentioned that the Deming Prize included at some stage aditional perspectives exclusively for executive senior managers. These  perspectives concentrate  on various areas such as HR and CSR, but what stood out for me was that it talks about vision and strategy... Are these two subjects only a CEO's responsibility?    

Then moving further down, you will find that the journal suggests that according to the Deming Prize "guidlines" top management -leadership- should demonstrate enthusiasm about TQM whilst everyone else will be dealing with the basic categories...

Now about the word imperial.... I used it to describe someone who has supreme authority... I know that sounds a bit absolute....But I think that Deming suggests that the journey towards continuous improvement starts from the top of the pyramid-as Aykut mentions in a comment-  and is forwarded towards the other parts...

Everything must begin from the top management... (?)

I think that Paul told us that when Deming went to Japan he gathered all the top managers and taught them how to think...! Is't this an indication?

I am not trying to jump to conclusions, I just felt that this introduces kind of leadership which is quite different to what we have been discussing all this time...

Finally, I would like to stress out that this information is based on the Deming Prize and might be different to the philosofy of Deming...

October 28, 2008

I have a Vision

When in the 60s Martin Luther King spoke so passionate about having a dream that would make the United States of America truly united, very few understood the significance of his words. I wouldn't like to talk about the political context, lets focus on  the power a dream can have....

A dream,an aspiration or a goal -although they dont have the exact same meaning- can empower any inividual and offer the strength and inspiration one needs in order to achieve something...

For example, I like to believe that we were all brought here at MBE by an aspiration....Of course not the same one, some are after the experience of studying abroad, others are motivated by the calibre of the University and some would like to add a marketable advantage to their CV...We all have visions of how our future should be and hopefully with a little help from our MSc we will be a breath closer to our dreams.

The reason I am writing this is because I think it is connected with what Paul was saying last weak - yes,  I know I am late, still struggling with time management i am afraid-  about how critical it is for an organisation to  have a vision.

I  was thinking about it all the time and then I suddenly realised why it makes sense. A vision is the motivation you need in order to reach somewhere. But in a company you never work solo...You are part of a team, not just your team...HR, PR or Marketing. The whole organisation is a team and it is necessary for them to share and support the vision. But if you expect from someone to support a vision you have to give them the opportunity to contribute to it!

Not many companies have succeeded in this which means it must be pretty difficult...I think there comes a time when you as a CEO or a manager or even as     when you decide if you are going to perceive the employees as pons trained to execute orders. The choice is there....are the people working for you or with you?

Finally, I feel I would like to give an might be inappropriate because it could be a matter of brilliant marketing...Anyway, I was thinking of Benetton -the clothing company- their combine good quality at affordable price. But they are not just selling clothes!They are making a point! Just look at the photos below....

photo        photo

Their vision  could be about making a difference. What I think is interesting is that their are making the customer part of they are saying...You feel you are cintributing in a way...

October 21, 2008

Just a thought

It has been a long time since i last blogged but time is just slipping away, although I must admit i haven't got the hang of time management as yet....

Anyway, I have been contemplating for quite a while whether or not i should write about this thing that is bagging me, since last week...I have decided to go on and write what i think, even though i have discussed it with several of my MBE colleagues...

After this mysterious introduction allow me to begin. As you remember last week we all attended the GBE (Global Business Environment) module, a very intriguing and insightful experience, particularly because we touched upon current issues such as the economic growth of China and of course the "Credit Crunch".

The most interesting point of this module-according to my opinion-was the fact that during the afternoons we were doing case studies...Real problems had to be solved and we had to do our best-always as a team-to ensure the survival and then success of our group whether we were producers, suppliers or even better a company...

Speaking of case studies, brings me to what i have been thinking about...

In many of the case studies in order to reduce the cost of production and to boost profits, companies decided to move their plants to developing countries in order to make use of the cheep labour.

Several times we had to make decisions about where is the best place to transfer the plant,Turkey?Bangladesh?or India?

Forgive me but i think this made me feel unethical....

I understand that the global market is extremely competitive, so every business is trying constantly to reduce cost and that cheap labour can be the easy way out...

But it seems that some business are taking advantage of underprivileged people's needs and aspirations of having a better life...

Besides i think that we are all more or less aware of the bad publicity certain companies have had because of being involved with child labour or other mall practices towards employees...

Maybe for a strict Business or Finance student this mentality makes sense but, we as MBE students are after quality...are this practises in accordance with excellence ??

Am i overreacting? What do u think?

I hope i didn't cause any uncomfortableness....

October 10, 2008

When do you know you have researched enough?

In a few hours our team will be meeting after researching for nearly three days non stop.

It has been rather interesting and quite challenging to tackle projects I have barely any knowledge about.

At first we thought books would be a good idea, so Toon and I went to the library in order to find any relevant books. The truth is that even though we found several books connected with our projects    -iso vs efqm model, Deming prize, Malcolm Baldrige award ect-  their were outdated (an issue we had been warned about during induction week). So instead we decided to consult electronic journals and websites...

What a task! First of all there are so many journals to study and even more websites to look at! So inevitably I decided to select the most recent journals and the most reliable websites...But even then there were difficulties, because of the difference of opinions expressed, so who do you trust?

The one minute you are reading that ISO 9000:2000 thousand is bad for business and the next that it necessary to have the isoaccreditation in order to "do business"....

Am I doing something wrong?

So the question I pose is: when to do you stop? I am used to stopping when I have acquired an in depth and solid knowledge of the issue.... But I am starting to wonder whether that is always an option....

Do you stop when you feel exhausted because of spending endless hours searching for the right information?

Or do you stop because you feel there is nothing more you can do so you give up? 

But then again I dont think there are any quitters in the MBE course, so I guess you just go on researching...

I think that the end result is going to be worth it, right?

October 09, 2008

To lead or not to lead?

I have to admit that I have always been very sceptical towards the leadership issue.I understand that in todays circumstances an increasing need for decisive and daring people has been created. But a leader? Isn't that a bit farfetched?

Maybe I think like this because I am intimidated by both having a leader and of course being one(if possible)
To think of it, this could be one of the many reasons why I choose this course: to discover what a leader is.

So who is a leader? Or even better what makes a leader?Is it power?Experience? Or talent?
Is it like a role playing game where someone gets to be a leader and has the "pleasure" of ordering people around?

I really don't know( I can't wait to find out though)
I am guessing that in a way, a leader is his team.A leader is nothing without his team, because with no team who is the leader going to lead?-very obvious thought-
So a leader should watch out for his team!After all they are all working together and trying to reach the same goal.That only comes through cooperation-or at least that's my opinion-

Finally, as I accept the fact that there are "leaders" all over the place...I realise that there are also different kinds of leaders for example I have met a democratic leader and unfortunately, an arrogant leader.

What I would to meet (or even be some day)is a leader gifted to inspire. One who will reveal his vision, a vision his team will follow and support religiously.
Who could ever refuse to support a vision?

Certainly not me...

October 07, 2008

An excellent start

Writing about web page,

According to our MBE (Management for Business Excellence) time schedule on Friday 3/10/08 we had a lecture on “Team Build” at 9:00 am. I have to admit that I was very quirious about what a lecture on “team build” could entail. Well, let me start by telling you that it was nothing close to a lecture.

It was a game! It was fun!But at the same time it was important and useful! It was all about cooperation, time management, leadership and above all teamwork!

At the beginning there were questions! Difficult questions!

So our team,Ally, Toon, Mei, Gilber, Louis and myself, were sitting there raking our brains to find the right answers.It is a good thing that the virtues were equally distributed, some were good at the logical questions while others could handle better the arithmical ones. At all times the whole team was trying to contribute in order to reach our goal….

And then, after a little help from Paul –I am afraid we were in a tight spot-our next task was revealed:”Make a tall giraffe”. Seriously, we had to make a giraffe as tall as possible using only newspapers and selotape.After discussing and brainstorming for a couple of minutes we all had different responsibilities e.g. make the legs or create a long neck which of course we had to finish in time, because our deadline was close…..

At the end our giraffe was a success….But the real success was our cooperation and the dedication we all showed in order to fufill our goal….

There is no doubt that the experience we all shared on Friday morning will be extremely useful in the future….were making a tall giraffe unfortunately won’t be the objective.

Below is a photo of our team and our giraffe


(sorry about publishing this again but I erased it by mistake)

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